Forever Vinyl DJs

Serato vs Traktor vs Rekordbox - Updated 15 April 2020

Choosing your software is the first step to selecting a DJ controller. Traktor has been around for 2 decades; Serato is the main American club choice; Rekordbox is innovating and changing the game.

I teach DJ Lessons with Serato usually, and most American club DJs (and Aussies) use Serato; however, I use Traktor for my mobile DJ gigs due to the library function. Rekordbox is now a compelling choice for underground DJs, and I'll be trying the new version again for mobile DJ use and trying to figure out the confusing subscription model.

Find out what you need for your DJ Lessons below.

UPDATE 2020-04-15 Rekordbox 6 bricks your old hardware! Do NOT download 6.0 and delete the old app! You MUST pay for a subscription or buy a new device. See below.

Become a Patron! Patreon DJ Lessons Platform

Serato, Traktor and Rekordbox Branded DJ Controller Compatiblity

Program-branded mixers and dj controllers only integrate natively in their designed software. Serato-labeled mixers will not work proper in Traktor, and Traktor labeled controllers will not work proper in Serato, until you reprogram the mapping of software and hardware button functions . Re-mapping is not an easy task for novice geeks.

Rekordbox does natively recognize all Pioneer DJ controllers and mixers, regardless of prior branding. Some of the effect chains are modified to Rekordbox standards, but it is easy to adapt to. This opens up possibilities of multi-use DJ controller able to function in both Rekordbox and the branded Serato or Traktor application. Buy a Serato or Traktor branded Pioneer, then just add a Rekordbox subscription, buy a license, or buy another Rekordbox trigger style controller like the amazing DDJ XP2

Rekordbox, Serato & Traktor with Ableton Live

Rekordbox, Serato and Traktor have the ability to use Ableton Live's Link function to sync the programs, something you can learn in the Advanced DJ lessons.

DVS Digital Vinyl System

DVS is short for Digital Vinyl System, and allows scratching using a record and needle to control the digital tracks. I personally prefer the DVS system to any digital setup for scratching, but learning mixing skills and the basic concepts is much easier now without having to pitch-match.

DVS upgrades can be ordered and unlocked later, so skip that unless you are sure.

Final DJ Program Recommendation

Serato DJ in America only because it is so commonly used in the club scene, just as Pioneer mixers and Technics turntables have for decades. Ask what your friends are using and maybe just get all three over time like I did.

Musician? Traktor DJ for NI gear integration and remix decks.

Learning? Serato DJ for the simplicity and club support in America.

Pioneer? Rekordbox was new fav, Rbox6 bricked old hardware access.

Serato DJ Pro

SCRATCH all I said... Serato ate my Pro license and DVS license for lunch, or it is in another account. Researching. For now, I'm frustrated with Serato.

Serato DJ Pro (2.3.3) System Requirements 2020

Serato Remote, Remote Mini

Serato Remote, the full app, works on iPad2 and newer. Functionality on the Serato Remote Mini is limited, containing no pause or play button - maybe cue is used to trigger start. Mini is available only on iOS and has not seen an update since 2017 - weaksauce considering they put out a terrible phone DJ app called Serato Fire

Serato Pros

Serato Cons

To change audio settings, you have to use the System Preferences in OSX or Control Panel in Windows. Changing interfaces in a public setting requires leaving the program. More on this and routing options in the Traktor Pros section.

Native Instruments Traktor DJ Pro

Setup is a little more involved with Traktor, but I prefer the control I have over audio routing. Settings options, search, collections, playlists, and the settings page itself are all far more intuitive to me, but I've used DVS systems since Final Scratch 1.0 in 2001.

My main rig is 2x Technics 1200s and a Pioneer DJM-900-NXS Mk1 4 channel mixer with Traktor and a MacBook Pro. Be prepared to spend some time getting all your settings and layout just how you like it after making the audio work. We'll disucss options in the DJ Lessons.

Traktor 3 System Requirements 2020

Traktor Pros

Traktor Cons

Pioneer DJ Rekordbox 6.0 Update

UPDATE 2020-04-15 Rekordbox released 6.0, which subscription-BRICKS your old devices from working, except for their most recent ten devices. You MUST pay $120/yr to keep using an old device. I'm furious.

I INSTANTLY fell in love with Rekordbox using my DDJ-SR! As for the mixing feel, some of the effects just worked amazing.

Rekordbox 6.0 Hardware Requirements 2020

As of 2020-04-14 Rekordbox 6 removes much of the hardware from licensing the program, effectively bricking the old DJ controllers unless you pay $120/yr. Do not delete Rekordbox 5.0 if you have it.

Rekordbox 6 Hardware Unlock Products

Rekordbox was initially designed to analyze tracks in Pioneer's language for a USB drive to plug in to a CDJ. The timecode data and cue points, etc, would auto-load as well. It has now evolved into a full-DVS system and more.

Rekordbox appears to work natively with ALL Pioneer controllers from all time, including those designed for Serato and Traktor. See the list of Rekordbox compatible Pioneer hardware to see.

RB is supported for my Pioneer DDJ-SR Serato controller, but the license will cost me.

Rekordbox Costs & Subscriptions Explained

Pioneer started a Subscription model for Rekordbox. I'm unsure what to think of this, as a missed monthly payment could leave you unable to function at a gig. I have my old Adobe Photoshop license on a now-prized MBP. Paying Adobe $80/mo for basic program access is unacceptable as a #multipro who attempts to master media of different types.

Rekordbox 5.0 Monthly Subscriptions

Rekordbox Pros

Rekordbox Cons